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Pacific Place is being turned into a fairytale destination for the festive season, with whimsical characters inhabiting a magical forest full of fun. The creative mind behind this whimsical wonderland is Seoul-based illustrator and character designer Kim Minji, who brings a magic touch to the season through her idiosyncratic, transportive art. Keep your eyes peeled for larger-than-life visuals and installations celebrating Kim’s fantastical style.


Here, to celebrate our collaboration, The Style Sheet sits down with Kim to discover more about her creative process.

Tell us a bit about your career journey. 


My major was in design, and I wanted to draw, but I didn't know how to get started for a long time. Initially, I worked as a 3D modeller at an animation production company. One day, the company’s art director saw a sketch I’d drawn and suggested that I should try character design. It was just a single sketch, but the opportunity came to me like fate, and I became the main character designer for animated movies.


So I was very happy with my job at the company because I could draw, but I also wanted to create artwork that could express more of my personality outside of character design. To work as an artist, I needed to take on external projects, so I started a personal website to promote my work. Over time, I started receiving commissions, and eventually I became a freelance artist.

Can you tell us about the vision for A Fairytale Christmas?


There are several characters, and they need to convey a warm, seasonal feeling that fits the overarching theme of Pacific Place's unique Christmas campaign. They also need to harmonise with the natural elements in the installations, like flowers, grass and mushrooms. I paid a lot of attention to colours and shapes to make these elements intuitively visible while also giving them a lovable and unique feel. I also made efforts to bring imaginative images to life, such as a vast cluster of mushrooms, a boat in the shape of a bird, the interaction between fairies and animals, and other fantastical elements not typically seen in reality.

You’ve worked on a lot of fantastical stories and fairytales in the past, including Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and The Wizard of Oz. How and why does the theme resonate with you?


I always strive to create warm illustrations that tell stories. Even within a single picture, I hope various stories can be imagined by different viewers. I wanted to express the interaction between background elements and characters. The subjects of this interaction could be animals, wind, clouds, rain, the cosmos or anything else. As these elements came together in the representation of a single picture, it naturally becomes a whimsical and fantastical world.

How does it feel knowing your illustrations will come to life in such a large, 3D way?


During the Christmas season, beloved by all, being able to witness the characters that I created come to life in beautiful spaces is so special. I believe that designing for installations requires a much more diverse approach to the creative process. You need to have an idea of what the actual installation will feel like once it’s completed, and for parts that are hard to imagine with drawings alone, I create 3D models using materials like paper or clay. For some structures, I also use 3D modelling and take pictures from various angles with a camera to review and assess the design. So there’s a lot to it, and as a character designer, I find the experience of creating and seeing them come to life to be incredibly fulfilling and moving.


This Christmas, Pacific Place turns into a fairytale wonderland! The winter fairies and all the creatures of the forest have been secretly arranging A FAIRYTALE CHRISTMAS! Forests bursting with giant luminous mushrooms and real dancing fairy lights, tree hollows filled with fairies, immersive musical light shows and countless magical encounters to discover.

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